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Nepal Monitor: The National Online Journal

Nepal Media Have A Lot Of Freedom: Gallup Survey

Majority of Nepalis-- 46 percent to be precise-- feel that their country's media "have a lot of freedom."

Most Nepalis feel their country's media "have a lot of freedom".

This is reported in a global survey of perceptions of media freedom 2011 carried out throughout the same year in 133 countries.

To the survey question "Do the media in this country have a lot of media freedom or not?" more Nepalis responded with the response "Yes" (46%). Fewer responded with the answer "No" (29%), or "Don't know" or refused to answer the question (25%).

In terms of the positive "Yes" score, Nepal's ranking for 2011 is 114 out of 133 nations.

In 2010, Nepal was 89th out of 112 countries. The responses last year, in 2010 were as follows: Yes (48%), No (25%), Don't know/refused (26%). In 2010, the world median was as follows: "Yes" (67 percent), "No" (23 percent) and "Don't know"/"refused to respond" (6 percent).

In South Asia, Indians led the other countries in their perception of free media, with 69 percent saying that their country had a lot of media freedom, as compared with Pakistan (66 percent), Sri Lanka (65 percent), Bangladesh (58 percent), and Afghanistan (51 percent).

Globally, this year, on top on the list were Finland (97 percent), Netherlands (96 percent), Australia (94 percent), and Ghana (93 percent). As many people in Germany (92 percent) perceived their country had "a lot of media freedom" as those in Sweden, Cananda, UK and New Zealand.

Last year, Netherlands was on top of the list, followed by Denmark, Australia, Sweden, Finland and Germany. The research data for this survey in Nepal was collected between April 17-May 4, 2011. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in Nepali language with 1,000 individuals. The margin of error was 3.9 percent.

In 2011, countries with the least perceived media freedom included Belarus, Gabon, Armenia, Mauritania, Congo Brazzaville, Palestinian territories, Congo (Kinshasa), Angola, Zimbabwe, Chad, and Iraq. To the question if media in the individual "country had a lot of freedom or not?", responses in the "yes" in these countries ranged from 23 percent to 38 percent and responses in the "no" ranged from 46 percent to 71 percent. The survey was conducted throughout 2011 in 133 countries.

Gallup Event: Measuring Media Freedom Worldwide: The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup held an event on March 28, 2012, at Gallup's world headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss how the world's populations perceive media freedom in their countries. Gallup and BBG also announced the details of their new global research project to better understand media use around the world. WATCH THE VIDEO

In 2010, countries with the least perceived media freedom included Chad, Haiti, Armenia, Belarus, Mauritania, Palestinian territories, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Ecuador. To the question if media in the individual "country had a lot of freedom or not?", responses in the "yes" in these countries ranged from 27 percent to 38 percent and responses in the "no" ranged from 45 percent to 72 percent. The survey was conducted throughout 2010.

The global median for the "Yes" response was 65%. This remained essentially unchanged from the median of 67% found in 2010. A report by Gallup says these views still vary worldwide, ranging from a low of 23% in Belarus to a high of 97% in Finland.

The report further says that the countries where perceived media freedom is lowest span multiple regions, including the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and former Soviet Union countries. Fewer than 4 in 10 adults in 11 countries, including Gabon, Armenia, Palestinian Territories, and Iraq, say their media have a lot of freedom -- despite legal or constitutional provisions that guarantee freedom of the press or speech in most of these countries. Independent media evaluators, such as Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders, also rate these 11 countries poorly on their freedom of the press indicators.

The Gallup report says that people's perceptions generally compare with experts' assessments, such as the Freedom House annual reports. Freedom House assesses the political, legal, and economic environments of each country and evaluates the extent to which the countries promote or restrict their media. Freedom House rates each country in these three categories and assigns it a value, with the higher numbers indicating less freedom. Freedom House then uses these scores to rate each country's media as "free," "partly free," or "not free." Resident perceptions of media freedom using Gallup data highly correlate with Freedom House scores.

However, the report pointed out that opinions in several countries indicate that people perceive a level of media freedom that is higher than independent, external evaluations would suggest. For example, in Botswana, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Liberia, 80% or more of residents report to Gallup that their media are free; however, Freedom House does not classify the media in any of these countries as "free."

Given the general lack of assessments that directly ask the public about their views of the media, the Gallup survey findings have important implications for policymakers seeking to gauge public opinion. In their report, Lee Becker, a Gallup senior research adviser, and Tudor Vlad, a Gallup senior research adviser write that traditional measures of media freedom have relied heavily on external assessments. While these evaluations are highly informative, the perceptions of people living in these countries are important for policymakers to consider in the ongoing discussion about freedom of the press. Gallup's ongoing worldwide survey research also enables tracking of how these perceptions are changing over time.

Details on methodology and data collection going back to 2005 are available here.


Posted by Editor on March 31, 2012 2:41 PM